Dec 11, 2012 6:00am PST
environment that gives them freedom to create whatever they want. an hour's drive from central beijing brings us to a village with lots of museums and studios. here 5,000 artists indulge their passions. among them is an actor. three years ago he began exposing society's shortcomings. in the summer the communist party congress was only a month away, so this actor staged a special performance. he called this the democratic election. the message? in this democracy we can't choose our leaders. he invited passers-by to watch the performance. on their ballots the 200 people who attended wrote the name of a candidate they would choose. but a month before the congress, the police came. like his cartoon about the party's total power, they took him away. they didn't release him until the end of october. china aims to be an artistic and cultural powerhouse, but he says the party's heavy hand smothers true artistic expression. >> translator: the government keeps saying it wants to nurture art, but what art are they talking about? there's no way we can create something that can be called art here.